CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — With current snow cleanup and cold temperatures approaching, doctors urge individuals to be proactive to prevent health complications.

“People have to realize what a cardiovascular strain it is to be able to go out and shovel snow,” said Dr. Scott Magley, medical director for Conemaugh Minors Medical Center. “You’re bundled up with a lot of clothes, you start to shovel, your heart rate goes up, and they don’t realize how much of a cardiovascular workout that is.”

Dr. Magley advised not to rush the work and to take breaks.

“Unfortunately, people don’t stop, they want to finish their jobs,” said Dr. Magley. “What we’re really trying to get people to do is moderation.”

Overexertion can lead to serious injury.

“Fortunately we haven’t had anybody at the emergency department that’s had chest pains from shoveling, but we have had injuries to the back, so we’ve had a definite increase to the number of back injuries,” said Dr. Magley.

He said it’s helpful to stretch before shoveling and advised to always lift with your knees.

The cold temperatures and wind chill are also health risks.

“I would never stay out more than five to 10 minutes, especially if you have other comorbid medical conditions,” said Dr. Magley.

He said to wear multiple layers and if you start to feel numb in your fingers or toes, put them in warm water, don’t rub them together, and wait at least a day before heading back out into cold conditions.